Just over a week ago, someone waltzed into the baggage claim area of McCarran International Airport, yanked my suitcase from the carousel and disappeared into the night with my well-cultivated collection of dresses, cardigans, Judas Priest merchandise, and size four shoes.
Because I lack vision, I thought that this was a bad thing.
The staff at Delta Airlines, with their tough love approach to customer service, were more than willing to help me see the error of my ways. While other airlines might mollycoddle customers with profuse – and maybe even genuine – apologies for permanently losing an entire suitcase full of their worldly possessions and cash vouchers to cover any undue expenses, Delta prefers to address the very heart of the issue and offer you Important Life Lessons about materialism and the impermanence of life.
“It happens,” the woman behind the counter callously told me when I asked her if it was really possible that someone had stolen my baggage right off the carousel. And then she handed me The Bag.
At the time, I thought that the woman at the counter was being disinterested and rude because she was unprofessional. Now that I have come to understand the true power and potential of The Bag, I realize that she was probably just unable to contain her violent jealousy. And I forgive her.
The Bag is many things, you see.
It is, to the naked eye, just an unassuming vinyl bag packed with basic amenities like a travel-sized antiperspirant, two whole cotton balls, a t-shirt, a toothbrush, and the world’s tiniest tube of toothpaste. But it’s also so much more. It is a lesson in resilience, and proof that you don’t need a whole suitcase full of ostentatious consumer goods and grown-up sized products from apothecaries to enjoy a week-long vacation or look like a decently groomed human being. It is an inspiring exercise in creativity, forcing you to Think Outside Of The Box in regards to your styling choices. Most importantly, though, it is the vessel through which I was exposed to The T-Shirt.
The T-Shirt, you see, is the most important fashion tool of all time. Whether you’re clubbing at Lavo, attending a fancy dinner at one of Vegas’s many fine dining establishments, or lounging poolside at the Wynn, it is the perfect choice. It is, in fact, the only piece of clothing that you will ever need.
Here are just a few of the looks I rocked in Las Vegas once Delta and some random ne’er-do-well freed me from the chains of my material goods.
(Apologies for my face in most of these shots. Having your luggage stolen tends to mess with your sleeping habits and it’s impossible to cover up the subsequent puffiness and mess when your makeup was in said luggage.)
The T-Shirt can, of course, be worn as a basic, every day t-shirt.
You can also dress it up with one of your miniature amenities. I was partial to the toothbrush.
The Basic Variations
The easiest way to sex up The T-Shirt is to let its enormous, gaping neck drift to one side and show a little clavicle. It’s Flashdance with a sleek, post-millennial twist!
Once you’re comfortable with that first step into the brave new world of T-Shirt fashion, you can experiment with the sleeves. Try rolling them up for a fun and flirty look!
Or you can slide both of your arms through the gigantic neck (this won’t even stretch it!) and tie the sleeves behind you. Suddenly, you have an adorable strapless number on your hands!
Find the sleeve bow too cutesy for your tastes? Untie it and slip the sleeves inside out for the super popular formal dress with pockets look!
Or, if you prefer the whole asymmetrical thing, you can mix and match. This was a personal favourite of mine.
Think you need pricey plaid or a Hypercolor shirt to be a part of the hot new ’90s revival that’s sweeping the fashion world? Think again.
Grab one end of The T-Shirt’s undulating folds and tie it to one side for a classic pre-millennial vibe.
Or you can grab the bottom edge, thread it through the neck and pull for a more obscure blast from the past. I call this one The Sophie B Hawkins, because it reminds me of that summer I spent listening to “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover,” watching 90210, and ruining the collar of my precious Vuarnet shirt trying to perfect the style.
The T-Shirt can also be used to dress up any clothing that didn’t get stolen because you were wearing it on the plane.
Now, I didn’t actually use the Wynn’s famous golf course while I was staying there but, if I had, I would have been prepared with this playful take on the old sweater-around-the-neck standard.
As I’m a little younger and more free-spirited than the usual golf crowd, I preferred this variation. Pull both sleeves and the neck over your head for a stable and stylish cape!
Or scoot the whole concoction around to the front for one of those stupid t-shirt scarves that the hipster kids love so much these days!
You can also roll The T-Shirt and fashion it into an angelic headband.
Or squish it into a random mess and do whatever it is I’ve got going on here.
While The T-Shirt is the ultimate fashion tool, you shouldn’t stop that from expanding your vision to other parts of The Bag. Or even The Bag itself. Here, I’ve fashioned The Bag into a delightful pillbox hat for a classic flight attendant homage.
If you were silly and frivolous enough to pack a bathing suit in your carry on, or to buy one for $15 at the nearby outlet mall, The T-Shirt also makes an excellent coverup.
Many of the dress options translate very well here. I turned The T-Shirt inside out for a slightly avant-garde touch.
You can tie one side up into various positions for a crazy touch!
Or you can pull the whole thing down around your waist and make yourself a skirt.
Did you pack yourself something sexy for your significant other/one night playmate/girl you found on a card some guy in a hoodie gave you on the strip? Don’t despair! The T-Shirt is here to put more spice back into your life than any piece of lace, leather or mesh could ever manage.
Sexiness is mostly mental, anyway. So just put on The T-Shirt in whatever naughty permutation you prefer, hop in a giant bathtub and flash your significant other/one night playmate/girl you found on a card some guy in a hoodie gave you your best come hither look.
The Next Level
If you’re really, really cool and boundary-pushing, this is the only way to wear The T-Shirt:
Slide one leg into each sleeve, pull the bottom edge around your waist and secure. What do you have?
You, too, can get your very own T-Shirt and embark on this stylish and rewarding journey. All you have to do is pack all of your favourite clothes and accessories into a suitcase and fly somewhere shady. Las Vegas is always a good option, seeing as how it now ranks fifth in TSA firings for theft.
And make sure that you fly Delta, because those other namby pamby airlines might try to cheat you with bogus offerings like money to compensate for your so-called inconvenience.
You’ll have to act fast if you want to stay on the cutting edge of fashion with me, though. On my last day in Vegas, I noticed that my hot new look was already catching on.